Prep for Innovation: Reallabor Nivelstein

  Production site at Nivelsteiner Sandwerke Copyright: © Nivelsteiner Sandwerke

To research innovative technologies for sustainable and efficient raw material extraction and energy supply, RWTH Aachen University and Nivelsteiner Sandwerke are working together to establish a Real-World Laboratory (RWL) at the Nivelstein production site.

For this purpose, the project "Prep for Innovation: Reallabor Nivelstein" was initialized, which is supported by the ERS Prep Fund. Three research institutions of RWTH Aachen University are involved in the project: the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT), the Unit of Mineral Processing (AMR) and the Chair of Information and Automation Systems for Process and Material Technology (IAT). Through the cooperation of the research institutions and the producing company, interdisciplinary, novel research concepts can be developed and tested, which can contribute to the improvement of process efficiency or product quality in raw material extraction and processing.

As part of the project, the RWL will be equipped with pilot plants for raw material extraction and processing, which represent central building blocks of the process chain on a semi-industrial scale. The modular design of the RWL as well as open and standardized interfaces enable the flexible setup of pilot plants. This allows new approaches to be tested in short iteration steps, such as coupling energy-intensive processes with the feed-in of a sustainable energy supply or modeling partial improvements to a process using artificial intelligence in short periods of time. Due to the close connection to real production operations, the RWL as a transfer laboratory can enable the transferability of improvements to the real environment.